How to Become an EKG Technician in Iowa

Skilled healthcare workers are increasingly in demand throughout the U.S. including in the state of Iowa. EKG technicians are among these professions. They earn good money, enjoy job security and do not need a college degree to start working.

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An EKG technician assists nurses and doctors in performing electrocardiogram (EKG) tests. An EKG is a test that monitor’s a patient’s heart to determine any abnormalities or if they have had a heart attack. An EKG may also be performed as a stress test, with the patient exercising. To become an EKG technician in Iowa does not require a degree or any state-level certification or licensing.

Requirements for Working as an EKG Tech in Iowa

An EKG technician must have specialized skills to do the job but not a degree or any specific certificate. These techs are responsible for setting up EKG tests, attaching electrodes to the patient’s body and reviewing the results to ensure the quality of the test.

In Iowa, to perform these tasks does not require any specific education, training or license. Requirements are set by employers. Some will train new technicians on the job and generally require that these job candidates have a high school diploma. Other employers only hire technicians with some healthcare experience or those who have completed a course or short program in EKG technology.

EKG Training Programs in Iowa

If you are serious about this career, it’s a good idea to complete an EKG program at a community or career college. This will set you apart from other, untrained candidates for the best jobs. Iowa has several educational opportunities to help you become an EKG tech:

  • Kirkwood Community College. Located in Cedar Rapids, this community college offers an EKG Technician Training Course with 60 hours of learning and training. The course is pass/fail and prepares students to begin entry-level work in the field and pass the National Health Career Association Certified EKG Technician exam.
  • Northeast Iowa Community College. Northeast’s EKG Technician Program prepares graduates to begin working in the industry. Students learn heart anatomy, medical diseases, medical ethics, electrocardiography, EKG components, lead placement and more.
  • Black Hawk College. Students in the Quad Cities can enroll in the EKG Technician program at Black Hawk’s East Moline campus. The course takes place on six Saturdays, for three hours each day. Students learn the skills necessary to begin working and to pass the national certification exam.

National Certification Programs

Certification as an EKG technician is not required in Iowa, unless employers request it specifically. Holding a nationally recognized certification has benefits, including better job placement, proof of skills and in some cases a higher salary. There are two main certification organizations for EKG techs:

  • National Health Career Association (NHCA). The NHCA offers an exam to certify EKG professionals. You must have completed a training program or one year of EKG work experience and have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for the exam.
  • American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT). This organization offers an EKG certification as well. To qualify to take the exam you must join the ASPT, have completed an EKG training program or have work experience, have a verification letter and have an example of an EKG you performed.

Salary Expectations and Job Growth in Iowa

Job growth for EKG techs is strong in the U.S. at a rate of 12 percent. In Iowa, that growth is even stronger, at 24 percent according to Projections Central. The statistics indicate there will be nearly 200 new positions for qualified techs in the state each year.

Salaries are also exceptional for this career that does not require a college degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the national average salary for EKG techs is $68,750 per year. This is lower in Iowa, at $50,810 per year, but still high.

EKG Job Opportunities

Most EKG techs work in hospitals, but also look at other types of medical centers, physician and specialist offices and medical diagnostic laboratories for employment. With such high demand for qualified workers, finding a job should not be difficult anywhere in Iowa. The greatest number of opportunities will be in the major metropolitan centers: Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Sioux City.